LinkedIn for the law sector
22nd January 2019
One of the most powerful platforms for businessmen and women across the globe, a space for likeminded individuals to link and businesses to share ideas, LinkedIn is leading the way as an influential social media platform.
With this in mind, making sure your profile is up to scratch is important whether you’re looking for a legal job or already representing a firm. We asked industry experts to give us their top tips for making your LinkedIn profile work for you.
Create a Great Profile
First things first, a great profile is the perfect platform for a successful account. You want to show off your personal attributes as well as aligning your profile with your firm’s brand. When people jump onto your account, they want to see what you currently specialise in as well as seeing your previous experience and skill sets.
Profile Image – If you can use a professional photo (one that’s on your company’s site) then that’s great. If not, you want to look professional so make sure the photo you use portrays this.
Professional Headline – Some people may think your headline is just a spot to put your job title, but you actually have 120 characters to fill so use it to your advantage and create a gripping summary.
Experience – Include all your relevant job experience, whether it was for a week or three years, potential employers or clients will want to see it.
Endorsements – If you endorse colleagues and professionals, they’re likely to endorse you back and these are a great way of building trust within your profile.
Add your CV – Add your CV to your LinkedIn profile, it’s a shortcut for employers to find out more about you and also showcases your other skills that may not be on your profile. If you need help writing a great CV, read our other blog post Tips for writing a great CV.
Connect With The Right Audience
LinkedIn, unlike Facebook isn’t about having the most friends (or links), it’s about connecting with the right audience to maximise your chances of success. Of course, it’s a personal choice but if you’re using your LinkedIn on behalf of your business or want it to become your personal networking platform then it’s important to think about connections carefully. Try and find like-minded individuals who may work in the same sector as you, work for similar companies or who have done a similar degree to you. Make sure you are connected with all your peers, as you’ll be able to see who they are connected with and decide if you think they would be relevant connections for you too.
We spoke to John Watkins, Director of Employability at The University of Law and asked him for some top tips to creating a great LinkedIn profile for legal professionals: “Build your network strategically – plan carefully who you would like to connect with to advance your legal career. It is about quality, not quantity.
“Don’t be afraid to use your network; legal and other. Use existing contacts and relationships to make introductions and expect others to request the same from you.
“Review your connections periodically – decide which ones are weak and need to be strengthened as well as those that don’t need attention as the relationship is not likely to yield benefits or is currently in a sufficiently healthy state.”
“Optimise your profile with well-written content that, rather than just houses your CV/resume, tells the reader how you can help them solve their legal issue and why they should choose you over your competitor,” says Susan Kench, LinkedIn trainer and director of Marshall Walker - The LinkedIn Tutors. “Strategically grow your network of 1st-degree connections. Make sure to connect with existing clients, professional referrers and any relevant professionals you meet in offline networking situations so that you can expand your reach and your visibility on LinkedIn searches. Get active on LinkedIn. Even if you have a great profile and a large network, if you never really participate on LinkedIn, your results will be limited. Sharing your own content via your homepage or via LinkedIn’s publishing platform will help you stay top of mind with your target audiences on LinkedIn and help pitch you as an expert in your field.”
Sharing updates across the platform not only indicates that you’re an active user, but it also shows fellow colleagues and professionals that you’re keeping up to date with industry news and updates. Try to share/engage with a collection of topics from a range of circles, ask questions and get involved in a conversation where possible. Keep your profile dynamic and allow it to be a platform for growth and development as much as it’s a platform for social updates.
Alex at Infolaw thinks that LinkedIn is the perfect publishing platform to demonstrate knowledge and expertise: “Publishing articles, comment and analysis to demonstrate knowledge and expertise was a traditional marketing tactic for law firms well before social media or even the internet. Blogging has been effectively (and often ineffectively) used by lawyers in recent years as a way of publishing their thoughts and insights without having to pitch to and/or pay third-party publications for the privilege. LinkedIn takes pitch-free publishing a step further, with the distinct advantage of automatically providing visibility to a user’s connections and followers as new posts show up in their feeds.”
As with any social media platform, it’s about being current and keeping your activity up to date. Share current articles, keep your profile fresh and add any experience or impressive accolades as and when you receive them - it pays off to be pro-active.
John also advises finding the right balance between professional and personal posts: “LinkedIn is a professional site but some features of one’s personal life can have relevance and even strengthen a profile. This is a very varied practice, but you do need to judge where to draw the line. Personal posts attract criticism from the ‘purist’ professionals, particularly when predicated by ‘Apologies for using a professional forum, but…’. Use your legal understanding and common sense when it comes to your posts – your digital footprint matters in the modern world and you cannot un-post.”
Whether you’re currently in a legal role or are looking to enter into that sector of work, having a great LinkedIn profile is essential and could be your opening into your next lawyers’ job.